In the past I’ve tried doing ribs on the BBQ with little success. They repeatedly came out dry and chewy. Or cooked with a beautiful color on the outside, and not quite done on the inside. My worst batch ever ended up in the trash when I managed to light the ribs on fire on the grill and burn them to near ash. Yikes! That situation was even more alarming than it sounds, and I still haven’t quite lived it down. And believe me, my husband doesn’t want to leave the grill within 20 feet of the house at this point. Not going to lie, I gave up on the rib idea after that one. But the longer I’ve been cooking and the more things I’ve mastered (here’s looking at you perfect medium rare ribeye), the more determined I’ve become that I will not be thwarted by a rack of ribs! So recently I did a little research and decided to give it another go. What I discovered are there are three things you need to do to turn out perfectly tender BBQ ribs every time.
- Pull the membrane off the back of the ribs- So there is this membrane running the length of that rack of ribs you just bought. It’s yucky and chewy when you cook it. Remove it and your ribs will turn out so much better! It’s not as hard as it sounds, and you can watch this video here if you aren’t quite sure how to remove the membrane.
- Precook the ribs in the oven before tossing them on the grill- So a little center intuitive to cook the ribs before you cook the ribs I know. But precooking the ribs in the oven (350*, wrapped tightly in foil, 2 hours) and then tossing the ribs on the grill for some BBQ flavor will give you meat that is perfectly tender, but holds to the bone just enough for you to pick em’ up and eat em’.
- Watch the ribs closely while they are on the grill (AKA don’t light em on fire)- I know, duh right? But this secret can not be underestimated. Keep a close eye on those ribs, they catch color quickly and have a tendency to catch on fire… Pull them off the grill just a soon as they get enough color to your liking also helps prevent the dreaded dry out.
Follow these three steps and you will turn out tender, rave worthy ribs every time. In the interest of renting your confidence in me after my frightening rib stories, I will tell you BBQ ribs are now one of the all time requested meals at my house. Give em’ a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Perfectly Tender BBQ Ribs
- 1 rack of ribs
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
Remove the membreane from the back of the ribs (See post above for a link to a how to video.)
Mix together salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a bowl. Rub over the ribs front and back. (Feel free to add addional seasoning as you desire, this is just a good baseline, the ribs will taste fantastic even if all you use is this and some BBQ suace later on. Though if you are in the mood to play with spice I highly recomend my favorite dry rub. Link to recipe below the post.)
Wrap the rack of ribs tightly in tin foil. Use enough foil to ensure the ribs are fully wrapped. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven at 350* for three hours. If the rack is particularly large or you cook more then one rack at once you may wnat to increase the time slightly. I would not advise cooking the ribs any longer then 3 hours regardless or the ribs will be so tender they will become difficult to grill.
Just before you are ready to serve, light the grill and allow it to heat up. Reduce the grill to medium heat (or adjust the temperature as nessisary for your grill to account for hot spots, etc.) Unwrap the ribs and place them on the grill Grill the ribs for just long enough to add color to both sides. Watch the ribs carefully as ribs tend to cause flair ups.
Remove the ribs from the grill and brush imediatly with your favorite BBQ sauce. Serve hot with addional BBQ sauce if desired.
For a fun change in seasoning try rubbing the ribs down with Michelle’s Best Dry Rub.